200+ Unique And Popular Victorian Last Names, With Meanings

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The influential Victorian Era spans the reign of Queen Victoria over England and Ireland, from 1837 to 1901. Victorian last names or surnames used by those who lived in the Victorian era remain prominent among the common folk today. From noble surnames like Cavendish, representing the Duke of Devonshire, to common occupational names like Butler, representing the chief servant of a household.

Victorian reign marked a time of great power and wealth as the British Empire spread across the globe. Immense advancements in science, arts, industry, and social reforms also marked these 63 years (1). A major milestone of this period was the evolution of the middle class as the more dominant class in society, replacing the aristocracy.

As a result, Victorian surnames encompass a wide range of themes.

To learn more about them, explore the following list to your heart’s content.

In This Article

200+ Victorian Last Names Or Surnames

Victorian surnames contain everything from occupations, locations, and topographic and geographical features, to physical descriptions, nicknames, and patronyms. Go through our extensive curated list to discover more interesting facts about these classic surnames.

Popular Victorian Last Names

Some surnames have remained relevant in the English-speaking world for centuries, starting from their widespread usage in the Victorian era. This list covers some of the most popular Victorian surnames for your perusal.

1. Anderson

With English and Scottish roots, Anderson is a classic Victorian patronymic surname. It means ‘son of Anders,’ where Anders is a medieval version of the name Andrew, meaning ‘manly.’ On another note, Anderson is popular in Scotland to date because St. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland.

2. Bailey

Bailey is an English surname with Anglo-French roots and describes an occupation. It comes from the word bailler, meaning ‘to deliver,’ and was used to describe those who worked as bailiffs or stewards.

3. Bennett

Bennett is a masculine name and surname, and is believed to come from the Latin Benedictus, meaning ‘blessed.’ It became popular in England because of the influence of St. Benedict, who lived in the 5th century.

4. Brown

Derived from the color brown, this surname finds its roots in the Old English brun. Brown is an incredibly well-known surname, not just in the Victorian era, but also in modern times. It was used to describe people with brown hair, brown clothes, or a tanned complexion.

5. Carter

With Irish, English, and Scottish roots, Carter is a classic occupational surname. It primarily described people who used wagons or carts to transport goods from one place to another. It is also related to the French surname Cartier.

6. Clark

Derived from the Latin word clericus, Clark is an occupational last name. It was used to describe someone who was educated or literate, a scholar or perhaps a member of a minor holy order, a member of the clergy, a scribe, or a secretary.

7. Cooper

Cooper means barrel maker

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A popular English surname, Cooper has occupational roots denoting a ‘barrel maker.’ It was a prized profession in medieval England when the demand for vats, buckets, casks, and barrels was high. Cooper is now catching on as a personal name, too.

8. Davis

Davis has Welsh and English roots and is a traditional patronymic surname. It means ‘son of David,’ and may be inspired by the Biblical character of King David.

9. Evans

Evans is a patronymic surname meaning ‘son of Evan’ and it is rooted in English and Welsh. Evan comes from Ifan, a Welsh version of John, which has roots in Hebrew, meaning ‘God is gracious.’

10. Green

Derived from the Old English word grene, Green is a toponymic surname denoting someone who lives near a grassy area or by a village green. It has Old Saxon and Norse roots and is quite popular in Ireland and England.

11. Harris

As is apparent from the surname’s spelling, Harris is a patronym meaning ‘son of Harry.’ Harry is a variant of Henry, meaning ‘house ruler.’ However, in Ireland, where it is a popular surname, it can be an Anglicization of Ó hEarchadha.

12. Hill

Hill is one of the most frequently used surnames in the UK and worldwide. It has toponymic origins, used to refer to someone who lived near or on a hill.

13. Hughes

A popular surname, Hughes is a patronym meaning ‘son of Hugh.’ Hugh has Germanic roots and is known to mean ‘bright heart’ or ‘bright mind.’ Hughes became famous because of Hugh of Lincoln, a Benedictine monk from the 12th century.

14. Jackson

Jack is a common derivative of John, so Jackson, as a patronymic surname, means ‘son of Jack’ or ‘son of John.’ It is popular in England, Scotland, and Ireland, and is also becoming known as a masculine name.

15. Jones

Keeping with the theme of surnames related to John, Jones is also a patronym meaning ‘son of John.’ It has Welsh origins and is consistent with the meaning of John, denoting ‘God is gracious.’

16. Martin

A classic Victorian surname, Martin has Gaelic origins with a Latin root. It denotes ‘of Mars’ or ‘warlike,’ as Mars is the Roman god of war.

17. Miller

With occupational roots, Miller is a surname that still ranks among the most popular ones in England. It denotes someone who works in a mill or operates a mill and is derived from the Old Norse word mylwari.

18. Moore

A classic topographic surname, Moore originates in the Old English word mor, meaning ‘bog,’ or ‘open land.’ It denotes anyone who lives near or on one of these geographical features.

19. Phillips

Phillips is an extremely common English surname, which in recorded history, goes back to the 1200s. It is a patronym meaning ‘son of Phillip.’ Phillip, in this case, means ‘friend of the horses.’

20. Robinson

Although Robinson is a patronym meaning ‘son of Robin,’ the name Robin does not refer to the bird. It is a diminutive of Robert, a name with Germanic roots, which means ‘bright fame.’

21. Smith

One of the most well-recognized occupational surnames, Smith refers to ‘someone who works with metal’ and originates from the Old English smið or smiþ. It also connects to the Old English word smitan, which means ‘to smite,’ referring to the act of striking metal.

22. Taylor

Yet another highly popular surname with occupational origins, Taylor refers to ‘a tailor.’ It comes from the French word tailleur, referring to ‘someone who cuts cloth.’ It is now a popular unisex personal name, too.

23. Thomas

Meaning ‘twin,’ Thomas comes from the Aramaic term t’om’a, and much like its meaning, serves dual purposes. It is a patronymic surname meaning ‘son of Thomas,’ and a popular masculine given name.

24. Turner

One of the most popular surnames in the UK, Turner has occupational origins. It refers to someone who created objects out of wood, metal, or bone by turning them on a lathe, a machine tool.

25. Walker

Walker is an occupational surname with quite an interesting origin. It comes from the profession of a fuller and is rooted in the Old English word wealcere, referring to someone who ‘trampled on cloth in a lye bath or kneaded it to straighten the cloth out.’

26. White

One of these most commonly used surnames in the English language, White comes from the Old English word hwit. It originated as a descriptive nickname for someone with white hair, or as an Irish patronym, meaning ‘son of the fair gillie.’

27. Wilson

Wilson is one of the oldest surnames in England, tracing back to the 11th-century Norman Conquest. It is a shortened version of Willemson, meaning ‘son of William.’ In this case, William denotes ‘desire to protect.’

28. Wood

A popular surname that is still in use, Wood comes from the Middle English word wode. It is a toponymic surname denoting someone who lived or worked near a forest or wood.

29. Wright

Originating from the Old English word wryhta, Wright is an occupational surname referring to a wood shaper or woodworker. However, the surname has now attained a broader meaning, as it refers to any skilled occupational worker.

Victorian Era Surnames

Some surnames carry an old-world charm and remind one of the eras gone by. Read on for a list of Victorian-era surnames that carry that quintessential feel of 19th-century Britain.

30. Adams

An English patronymic surname, Adams means ‘son of Adam.’ Adam has roots in Hebrew meaning ‘red’ and ‘earth,’ corresponding to the myth that Adam was the first human being that God created out of the red-hued clay of the Earth.

31. Allen

Allen has Celtic origins in Ireland, becoming a popular surname in Scotland and England. It comes from MacAllen and means ‘little rock,’ ‘harmony,’ or ‘handsome.’

32. Andrews

A classic English patronymic surname and masculine given name, Andrews has Greek roots and means ‘son of Andrew.’ Andrew means ‘manly,’ and is a significant baptismal name in Scotland because it is the name of the country’s patron saint.

33. Arnold

A common surname and masculine given name, Arnold has two meanings based on how it is used. As a given name, it means ‘eagle power,’ from arn, ‘eagle,’ and wald. ‘power,’ but as a surname, it has habitational origins and means ‘eagle nook,’ from arn. ‘eagle,’ and halh, ‘nook.’

34. Barrett

The personal name and surname Barrett is popular in England and Ireland. It means ‘warlike,’ and in another sense, denotes ‘strife’ or ‘distress.’

35. Baxter

A classic occupational surname, Baxter arose from the Old English bæcere, meaning ‘baker.’ Fun fact: Although Baxter later became known as a masculine given name, it initially emerged as Bakster, the feminine counterpart of Baker.

36. Berry

Although spelled the same as “berry,” Berry does not connote the same meaning when used as a surname. It has two meanings: as a habitational surname, it denotes people coming from Bury or France’s Berri province, and as a toponym, it represents those who reside near a bergh, the Middle English word for ‘hill.’

37. Brooks

Contrasting the previous surname, Brooks means the same thing it spells. It is a toponymic surname for anyone who lives near a stream or brook.

38. Clemens

A surname with roots in Cornwall, England, Clemens is a variant of Clement or Clemence. It means ‘merciful,’ and was a popular surname in the Victorian era due to its association with Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, an influential Victorian author.

39. Cole

Cole came to be used as a descriptive surname and is now used as a personal name. It means ‘coal,’ ‘charcoal,’ or ‘black coal,’ referring to someone with a swarthy complexion or dark hair.

40. Cook

The occupational surname Cook has Old English origins in the word coc. It referred to not just people who cooked for a living but also those who sold cooked chicken or ran an eatery.

41. Cox

With Welsh origins, Cox comes from the word coch, meaning ‘red,’ denoting someone with a reddish complexion or red hair.  It can also mean ‘from the hills’ or ‘the little.’

42. Darcy

The English surname Darcy has roots in Irish and French. It originates from an Irish word meaning ‘dark-haired one’ or ‘from the fortress,’ and in French, it is a habitational name meaning ‘from Arcy,’ referring to Bois d’Arcy in France.

43. Ellis

As a personal name and surname, Ellis has various sources. In English, it may be a form of the Biblical Elias, meaning ‘my God is God,’ or a diminutive of Elizabeth, meaning ‘my God is an oath.’ In Welsh, it comes from the personal name Elisse, meaning ‘kind’ or ‘benevolent.’

44. Foster

Foster is an occupational English surname with a wide variety of meanings. Primarily it denotes ‘one who works in a forest,’ but it may also be a nickname for a ‘foster parent.’ In French, it can come from forcetier, a surname for a ‘scissor maker.’

45. Gray

Originating primarily from Scotland, Gray is a descriptive surname that gained popularity in England. It described someone with gray hair or complexion. Alternatively, the surname Gray had habitational roots associated with those hailing from Graye-sur-Mer, Normandy.

46. Hall

Hall is an incredibly popular English surname ranked among the top 20 most frequently used surnames in England and Wales. It is a habitational name denoting someone who lived or worked in a large hall or manor house. It can also refer to the Old Norse hale, meaning ‘hero,’ or the Norwegian hallr, meaning ‘flint.’

47. King

The surname King has Old English origins in the word cyning, meaning ‘tribal chief.’ It was used most commonly to describe those who royally carried themselves or played the part of a king in a medieval pageant.

48. Lloyd

Popular in England and many parts of Wales, Lloyd is a classic Victorian surname that denotes ‘gray-haired.’ It does describe physical appearance like the surname Gray; it is more associated with wisdom and maturity.

49. Lysander

Lysander is an English given name and surname with Greek roots. It means ‘liberator’ from the root words lysis, meaning ‘to loosen’ or ‘freedom,’ and aner, meaning ‘man.’ It likely became popular in English society through its connection with Shakespearean literature, as Lysander was a character in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

50. Murray

With Scottish origins, Murray is a habitational surname popular in England. It comes from the Celtic words mori, meaning ‘sea,’ and treb, meaning ‘settlement,’ thus connoting ‘sea settlement’ or ‘seashore.’

51. Reed

Unlike its spelling, Reed does not indicate the tall grass-like plants near ponds. Reed is a descriptive surname denoting ‘the color red,’ and was used to describe those with red hair or a reddish complexion.

52. Rogers

Rogers is a classic patronym meaning ‘son of Roger.’ The name Roger comes from the Old English Hrothgar, meaning ‘fame spear,’ and it became famous due to its association with the ancient epic poem, Beowulf.

53. Scott

Scott is a popular habitational and occupational surname. In the first case, it denotes those who come from Scotland, and in the second case, it comes from the French word for a ‘scout’ or ‘spy.’

54. Ward

A common English surname, Ward has occupational origins. It comes from the Old English wearde, meaning ‘watch’ or ‘guard,’ and was likely used to refer to those who worked as guards or watchmen.

55. Warren

With ancient origins in the Norman de Warenne family, Warren is a classic English surname that was popular in the Victorian era. It combined the meanings ‘animal enclosure’ and ‘to watch’ or ‘to guard.’

56. Watson

Watson has English and Scottish origins and is a patronym meaning ‘son of Walter.’ Walter, on the other hand, has Germanic origins and means ‘commander of the army.’

57. West

An English surname, West has topographic origins. It was typically used to identify those who had migrated from a place in the west or lived to the west of a town or village.

58. Young

Young is a descriptive surname popular in the British Isles. It emerged as a nickname for a younger person with the same name in a group or to distinguish between a father and son with the same first name.

Old Victorian Last Names

There are Victorian last names that have either fallen out of usage with time or are so popular that no one would guess how far they go back. Read on to discover some of these old Victorian last names, some antiquated, some unique.

59. Blackwood

Blackwood is a habitational surname meaning ‘black wood’ and was given to anyone who hailed from a place named Blackwood. The surname was first recorded way back in the 14th century in Stirlingshire.

60. Bradford

Meaning ‘broad ford,’ Bradford is a habitational surname from England and was given to people who hailed from places named Bradford in the country. Primarily, the name has been traced back to a location in Yorkshire.

61. Carlisle

A habitational surname, Carlisle has Celtic roots. It refers to the city of Carlisle in Cumbria and originates from the Celtic element cair, meaning ‘fort.’

62. Cotton

A habitational surname with Anglo-Saxon and Old English origins, Cotton comes from places named Coton, Cotham, or Cottham in England.  These place names are rooted in the word cot, meaning ‘hut’ or ‘cottage.’

63. Dalton

Dalton has Welsh origins and is a habitational surname in England and Ireland. It comes from the Old English elements dæl, meaning ‘valley,’ and tun, denoting ‘settlement.’ The surname was well-known in Victorian England due to its connection to scholar and chemist John Dalton, the pioneer of the atomic theory.

64. Davenport

A habitational surname, it comes from a place named Davenport in Cheshire. It derives its meaning from the Dane River, combined with the Old English word port, meaning ‘market town.’ Davenport also has Irish origins, meaning ‘descendant of Donndubhartach.’

65. Eccleston

Eccleston means church village

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Eccleston is a habitational last name originating from Eccleston in Lancashire or Cheshire. It means ‘church farm’ or ‘church village,’ which also makes it a locational surname.

66. Ellington

Ellington is a habitational surname emerging from numerous places named Ellington in England. It translates to ‘old settlement’ or ‘old farmstead,’ and in some interpretations, ‘elf village.’

67. Enfield

Enfield is a classic English habitational surname related to Enfield in Middlesex. It also has a toponymic usage, as Enfield translates to ‘open field of lambs,’ and may refer to anyone who lives near such a place.

68. Fairfax

With medieval origins, Fairfax is a descriptive surname and a given name. It means ‘fair hair’ or ‘beautiful tresses’ and describes someone with beautiful hair. It mainly originated in Yorkshire and Northumberland.

69. Grantham

A habitational surname from places named Grantham in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire, Grantham is an older Victorian English surname. It is believed to mean ‘gravel homestead.’

70. Herman

Herman has English and German origins as a surname. In English, it may be a toponym meaning ‘dweller of a nook or corner of land,’ or an occupational name meaning ‘hired servant.’ In German, it means ‘army man.’

71. Hilliard

As an English surname, Hilliard has two separate meanings and origins. On one hand, it may mean ‘battle stronghold,’ and on the other, it may be an occupational surname variant of Hillier, meaning ‘roofer’ or ‘tiller.’

72. Humphrey

The surname Humphrey has roots in the Middle English personal name Humfrey, which has ancient Germanic origins meaning ‘peaceful bear cub.’ It may also come from the Germanic name Hunfrid, meaning ‘friend of the Huns.’

73. Irvine

With Scottish roots, Irvine is a classic surname well-known in England and Ireland as well. It is a habitational last name from Irvine in Ayrshire, and means ‘green water’ or ‘fresh water.’

74. Johnson

A classic patronym and a highly popular English surname, Johnson means ‘son of John.’ John has Biblical Hebrew origins and means ‘God is gracious.’

75. Lester

Lester originates as a habitational surname from one of the oldest cities in England, Leicestershire. The name comes from the Old English term Legore, meaning ‘dwellers by the River Legor,’ and ceaster, meaning ‘fortified city.’ Lester may also be an occupational surname referring to a ‘person who shapes shoes on a shoemaker’s last.’

76. Lyman

The last name Lyman has a similar meaning to Layman. It has a topographic origin and refers to someone who lives or works near a meadow or a patch of arable land.

77. Merton

A classic surname of English origin, Merton has toponymic and habitational origins as a place name in England. It combines the Old English term mere, meaning ‘pool,’ with tun, meaning ‘farmstead’ or ‘estate.’

78. Morris

Morris has English and Scottish origins and is believed to have originated from the personal name Maurice. It means ‘dark,’ ‘moorish,’ or ‘swarthy,’ and was likely used to describe a dark-skinned person.

79. Newton

An incredibly common habitational name that goes back to the 12th century, Newton is a classic Victorian English surname. Its meanings include ‘new town,’ ‘new estate,’ or ‘new settlement.’

80. Norris

Norris has origins in Middle English and was a habitational surname meaning ‘northerner.’ It was used for those who lived in the North or hailed anywhere from Northern England or Scotland. It could also originate from the French word norice, meaning ‘nurse’ or ‘foster parent.’

81. Pierce

As a surname, Pierce does not have the same meaning as the English word “pierce.” It comes from Piers, a diminutive of Peter, meaning ‘rock.’ As a result, Pierce is a patronym that translates to ‘son of Piers.’

82. Price

Price has English and Welsh origins meaning ‘son of Rhys,’ where Rhys or Reese means ‘enthusiasm.’ The surname is well-known among those with Welsh ancestry and is also spelled as Pryce.

83. Pryor

Also spelled as Prior, Pryor has Latin origins and is an occupational surname. It means ‘superior’ and refers to those who served as monastic leaders or priests.

84. Shaw

With Old English origins, Shaw is a classic British toponymic surname meaning ‘dweller by the wood.’ It comes from the word sceaga and denotes someone who lives near a bush or thicket.

85. Sherman

Sherman has Anglo-Saxon origins and is a traditional occupational surname. It means ‘shearer of woolen garments,’ and is a close spelling variant of Shearman, Sharman, and Shurman.

86. Stillingfleet

A distinctive surname with Old English roots, Stillingfleet is a geographical surname. It translates to ‘stretch of river belonging to the family of Styfel,’ and records of its usage go back to the 11th century.

87. Webster

With Scottish and English origins, Webster is a classic Victorian English occupational surname. It connotes ‘a weaver,’ and is also spelled as Webber, Webb, or Weaver.

88. Wheeler

An occupational surname made popular because of its widespread use, Wheeler has Old English origins. It comes from the word hweolere and refers to someone who made or repaired cartwheels.

89. Whitlock

Whitlock is a traditional descriptive surname with Middle English origins and was well-known in Victorian England. It comes from the words hwit and locc, meaning ‘white lock,’ possibly referring to someone with ‘white hair.’

90. Wilkes

Similar to most English surnames that begin with the Wil-, Wilkes is a patronym derived from William, meaning ‘desire to protect.’ This version of the surname has Polish roots from the word wilk, meaning ‘wolf.’

91. Wraith

Wraith is a rare surname that has occupational origins from the Middle English wrethe, meaning ‘carpenter.’ Alternatively, it can be a variant of the Middle English wroth, meaning ‘angry.’

92. Wulfric

With Anglo-Saxon roots, Wulfric is a classic English surname and masculine given name. It combines the elements wulf, meaning ‘wolf,’ with ric, meaning ‘king,’ thus translating to ‘wolf ruler.’

French Victorian Last Names

French became a part of the English language in 1066, with the Norman Conquest. It was the language of the aristocracy until the 14th century when English became official. By then, French had seeped into the English vocabulary. As a result, French surnames or English surnames derived from French words were found everywhere in the 19th century. Here is a list of some French Victorian last names.

93. Algernon

A unique surname with French origins, Algernon was first created as a descriptive nickname. It came from Aux Gernons, meaning ‘having a mustache,’ and was first used for William de Percy, a companion of William the Conqueror.

94. Allard

The French and English surname Allard came from the personal name Alard or Adelard. Composed of the Germanic elements adal, meaning ‘noble,’ and hard, denoting ‘strong’ or ‘hardy,’ Allard denotes ‘noble strength.’

95. Archer

The last name Archer means ‘bowman’ and has French and English origins. It comes from the Latin word arcarius and the French word archier, and in the Middle Ages, it was a surname given to talented archers. It has retained its popularity over the years and is now even considered a first name.

96. Beaufort

Beaufort means ‘beautiful fort’ and became known as a surname in England during the 14th and 15th centuries. It was used by the House of Beaufort, a noble family that descended from John of Gaunt, the first Duke of Lancaster.

97. Belvoir

A habitational name connected to Belvoir in Leicestershire, Belvoir combines the French terms bel, meaning ‘beautiful,’ with voir, meaning ‘to see.’ Thus, its meaning can be interpreted as ‘a place beautiful to see’ or ‘a place with lovely scenery.’

98. Bertrand

Bertrand is a masculine given name and surname. It has ancient Germanic origins and is the medieval French form of Bertram. It is widely believed to connote ‘bright raven’ or ‘bright rim of a shield.’

99. Butler

As an occupational surname, Butler descends from the French butuiller, meaning ‘bottler’ or ‘bottle maker.’ It refers to anyone involved in the task of taking care of bottles or casks of wine. However, in noble households, Butler became associated with an officer of high rank, not quite associated with wine.

100. Chambers

Chambers is an occupational surname that originates from the French word Chambre. It denoted a servant who primarily worked in their master’s private chambers or someone who worked in an exchequer room.

101. Courtenay

Courtenay is a habitational surname originating from the geographical locality de Courtenay in the Isle of France. It is an older variant of Courtney and is also said to denote ‘from the court’ or ‘short-nosed.’

102. Dumas

Originating from the Occitan word mas, meaning ‘farmstead,’ Dumas is a French habitational surname for those who lived in an isolated farmstead instead of a village. It could also derive from places named Le Mas in various parts of France.

103. Fletcher

Originating from English and French, Fletcher is an old occupational surname for someone who used to make bows and arrows. It comes from fleche, a French term for arrow.

104. Jarvis

Jarvis is an English surname with roots in Norman and Old French. It comes from the personal name Gervais, which is made up of the elements gair, meaning ‘spear,’ and wass, meaning ‘vassal,’ thus denoting ‘vassal with a spear.’

105. Joyce

Joyce has two distinct meanings when used as a surname. In its more primitive form, it emerged from the Old French Josse, meaning ‘lord.’ When its usage was reduced, it was combined with the Middle English joise, meaning ‘rejoice,’ to create Joyce.

106. Napier

An occupational surname with British and Scottish usage, Napier is rooted in the Old French word nappier. It denotes a ‘person who makes tablecloths’ or someone who ‘takes care of table linen.’

107. Neville

Used as a masculine given name, a habitational surname, as well as a topographical surname, Neville is nothing if not versatile. It has Norman and French roots and means ‘new town.’

108. Palmer

Palmer is a surname with an interesting story behind it. It comes from paumer, a French word for those who made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. To prove they had completed the journey, they would carry palm leaves back home, thus getting this surname.

109. Parker

Originating from the French word parquier, Parker is an occupational surname. It referred to a ‘park keeper’ or ‘gamekeeper,’ and was used as far back as medieval England.

110. Rudolph

Originating from French, Rudolph or Rudolf is a classic English surname and given name. Its roots go back to the ancient Germanic terms hrod, meaning ‘honor,’ ‘glory,’ ‘fame,’ or ‘renown,’ and olf, meaning ‘wolf.’

111. Terrell

Terrell also spelled as Terell or Tirrell is a Norman patronymic surname meaning ‘son of Turold.’ It can also denote ‘stubborn’ or ‘follower of Thor,’ referring to the Norse god of thunder.

112. Villiers

With English and Norman French origins, Villiers is a habitational surname. It is related to various places named Villiers in France and denotes an ‘outlying farm-dependent settlement.’

Noble And Rich Victorian Surnames

Although the middle class became prominent during the Victorian era, it did not diminish the presence and significance of the upper classes, comprising the noble titleholders and landed gentry. Below is a list of noble and rich Victorian last names you can explore.

113. Baldwin

Baldwin has Old Germanic and Anglo-Saxon roots and means ‘brave or bold friend.’ It is a given name and surname intrinsically associated with European nobility, from the Counts of Flanders and Latin kings to the first Earl of Devon.

114. Bentley

The surname Bentley has habitational origins from various places named Bentley in England. It means ‘meadow with coarse grass’ or ‘field of Benedict.’ The surname is associated with opulence and prosperity because of its association with an iconic jewelry franchise that goes back to the Victorian era.

115. Berkeley

Berkeley means birch clearing

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Meaning ‘birch clearing,’ Berkeley is a habitational name associated with Berkeley in Gloucestershire, England. It is also the name of the Berkeley family, an English noble family whose lineage can be traced back to the Anglo-Saxons.

116. Byron

With Old English origins, Byron is a toponym meaning ‘at the byres’ or ‘a place by the cowsheds.’ It is also an occupational name for those who work with cattle. Its significance as a noble surname can be traced back to Lord Byron, a renowned English poet of the Romantic period and the 6th Baron Byron.

117. Cavendish

Cavendish is a habitational surname derived from the place name in Suffolk. It has Old English origins from caf, meaning ‘bold,’ and edisc, meaning ‘enclosed pasture.’ In terms of nobility, the Cavendish family traces its roots to the 14th century and held the titles of Duke of Devonshire and Duke of Newcastle.

118. Clive

Clive means ‘cliff’ and is a topographic surname for those who reside near a steep hill or riverbank. It is also related to nobility, belonging to Robert Clive, the 1st Baron Clive who served as a governor in colonial India.

119. Compton

Another habitational surname, Compton comes from the Old English cumb, meaning ‘short or straight valley,’ and tun, meaning ‘enclosure’ or ‘settlement.’ It is also the association with the aristocratic Compton family, presided over by the Marquess of Northampton.

120. Cornwallis

Cornwallis is a habitational surname denoting anyone who resided in Cornwall, England. It is also the name of the prestigious Cornwallis family, an English aristocratic family headed by Baron Cornwallis.

121. Devonshire

With habitational origins in the county of Devon, Devonshire is rooted in English and Welsh. It is also part of the title Duke of Devonshire, which is held by the Cavendish family.

122. Duncan

A surname and given name with aristocracy embedded into its meaning, Duncan has Scottish Gaelic roots. It combines the terms donn, meaning ‘brown’ or ‘black,’ with chadh, meaning ‘chief’ or ‘noble.’

123. Edgar

Edgar has dual usage as a surname and a masculine given name. It has powerful connotations, meaning ‘rich spear,’ and in the context of England, it has much historical significance. It was the name of two Anglo-Saxon kings of England and in the Victorian period, became well-known because of a character in Sir Walter Scott’s novel, The Bride of Lammermoor.

124. Elmore

Elmore is a habitational surname and given name from Elmore in Gloucestershire. It is another one of those last names with nobility built into its meaning. It means ‘famous noble’ in one interpretation, and ‘elm ridge’ in another.

125. Emerson

With a meaning suggesting a lineage of bravery and power, Emerson is a classic English patronym meaning ‘son of Emery’ or ‘son of Emar.’ It is not linked to a noble family, but its root name, Emery, translates to ‘a powerful ruler.’

126. Fitzroy

Also spelled as FitzRoy, Fitzroy is a surname with connections to nobility and a powerful meaning. It translates to ‘son of the king’ and is the name of the aristocratic FitzRoy family, headed by the Duke of Grafton.

127. Franklin

Franklin is an English surname and masculine given name with medieval and Anglo-Norman origins. Although it is not directly linked to British nobility or the noble class, it carries an aura of prosperity with its meaning, ‘free landowner.’

128. Godwin

An ancient surname with Anglo-Saxon roots, Godwin means ‘friend of God.’ Its usage in England dates back to before the Norman conquest, and it was associated with the House of Godwin, a prominent aristocratic family of the 11th century.

129. Greville

A British habitational surname, Greville originated from a village in the Manche department of Normandy. It is also associated with the prominent Greville family, a 16th-century aristocratic landowning family from Warwickshire, headed by the Earl of Warwick.

130. Hamilton

A typically British surname, Hamilton has topographic origins meaning ‘flat-topped hill.’ In terms of its links to aristocracy, the Duke of Hamilton is a title of peerage in Scotland, created in 1643.

131. Harcourt

With Old French and Old Norse roots, Harcourt is an English surname meaning ‘fortified farm’ or ‘farmyard.’ It is also linked to the House of Harcourt, a Norman aristocratic family with branches in France and England.

132. Hardin

Hardin has dual origins in Old English and Old French. In English, it comes from Heardin, meaning ‘brave,’ ‘strong,’ or ‘hardy,’ and in French, it derives from Hardouin, meaning ‘strong and brave friend.’ Although not directly related to an aristocratic family, it highlights noble and powerful qualities.

133. Howell

Howell is an English surname derived from the Welsh word Hywel. Popular since the Middle Ages, it means ‘prominent’ or ‘eminent,’ associating it with an air of nobility and prosperity.

134. Kent

Kent is an English and Irish habitational surname from the county of Kent. It is also connected to the Kingdom of Kent, a medieval kingdom that eventually became a part of South East England.

135. Manners

An English surname of Norman origin, Manners is a habitational surname from Mesnières-en-Bray in Seine-Maritime. It comes from the Latin term manere, meaning ‘to retain’ or ‘to abide.’ Its phonetic and etymological association with manners and etiquette also makes it a surname with noble and rich connotations.

136. Norfolk

Norfolk is a habitational surname from Norfolk in East Anglia and it originates from the Old English words for ‘North people.’ In terms of aristocracy, the Duke of Norfolk is a title in the Peerage of England.

137. Pembroke

With Welsh origins and English and Irish usage, Pembroke is a habitational surname from Pembroke in Southern Wales. It translates to ‘end land,’ and is a recognized noble surname. The Earl of Pembroke is a title in the Peerage of England and was created in the 12th century.

138. Spencer

Spencer is a classic English surname meaning ‘steward’ or ‘dispenser,’ and has powerful connections to nobility. The aristocratic Spencer family has held numerous titles, such as the earldoms of Sunderland and Spencer, the dukedom of Marlborough, and the Churchill barony. Sir Winston Churchill and Diana, Princess of Wales, were also members of this family.

139. Sutherland

With Scottish roots, Sutherland is an English habitational surname from the county of Sutherland, translating to ‘southern land.’ In terms of noble lineage, Clan Sutherland is a powerful Scottish family and holds the title of Earl of Sutherland.

140. Walton

A surname with a rich and powerful aura, Walton has English habitational and toponymic origins. It connotes a ‘walled town,’ ‘city of wood,’ or ‘city of streams,’ and carries with it a sense of protection and abundance.

141. Wellesley

Wellesley has topographical origins meaning ‘stream next to a woodland clearing,’ or ‘woodland belonging to the town of Wells.’ It is also connected to the prestigious Wellesley family, for whom the title of Duke of Wellington was created in 1814.

142. Williams

Williams is a popular patronymic surname meaning ‘son of William,’ where William has the noble connotations of ‘desire to protect.’ Several baronetcies, 21 to be exact, have been created for people with the last name Williams, ranging from 1622 to 1955.

Victorian English Last Names

Although French was the international language of diplomacy and widely used by the aristocratic classes during the Victorian era, English was the common tongue and the country’s official language. As a result, a vast majority of common surnames at the time had English roots. Read on to learn more about Victorian English last names.

143. Armstrong

The popular English surname Armstrong has Scottish and Irish origins. It emerged as a nickname for ‘someone with strong arms,’ or is ‘strong in the arm.’

144. Ashton

Ashton is a classic last name with habitational origins from Ashton-under-Lyne near Manchester. It is also a topographic name meaning ‘ash tree town,’ used for someone residing in a town with ash trees.

145. Atkinson

With patronymic origins, Atkinson means ‘son of Atkin’ or ‘son of Addy.’ In this case, both Atkin and Addy are thought to be derived from the masculine name Adam, meaning ‘red’ or ‘earth’ in Hebrew.

146. Baker

A classic occupational surname, Baker has Old English origins from the term baecere. It denoted people who, at the time, did not just bake bread, but were also the owners of communal ovens.

147. Bell

Bell means bell ringer

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Derived from the Middle English word bell, Bell is an occupational surname denoting a ‘bell maker’ or ‘bell ringer.’ It can also be a habitational name representing someone who lives by a bell, or whose house is marked with the sign of a bell.

148. Bishop

With Latin roots and Middle English origins, Bishop means ‘overseer.’ It refers to the overseer of a local community of Christians and has cognates in almost every European language. It is used as a title, surname, and also a given name.

149. Eustace

Also spelled as Eustis, Eustace is a masculine given and an English surname. It has Greek roots from two phonetically similar names. In the first case, it means ‘fruitful’ or ‘abundant,’ and in the second, it means ‘steadfast’ or ‘stable.’

150. Hargreaves

A British surname, Hargreaves has a geographical or topographical origins. It translates to ‘grove of the hares,’ indicating a person who may reside near such a place.

151. Hester

With Germanic origins, Hester is a topographic surname and a feminine given name. It is used to denote anyone who lives near a ‘conspicuous beech tree’ or an ‘oak tree.’

152. Kirk

Kirk has Scottish and English origins and means ‘church.’ It has spawned numerous surnames and first names and is also noted as a habitational surname for anyone who lives near a church.

153. Ledger

An English surname that was later adapted as a masculine name, Ledger has Germanic origins. The most prominent meaning attached to it is ‘spear tribe.’

154. Middleton

Middleton is an Old English surname with habitational origins from Herefordshire. It means ‘middle town,’ ‘middle of the town,’ or ‘middle of an enclosure or farmstead.’

155. Nash

Nash is another popular habitational or toponymic surname of English origin. It means ‘by the ash tree,’ denoting someone who lives close to an ash tree.

156. Roberts

A classic patronymic last name meaning ‘son of Robert,’ Roberts has English and Welsh origins. Robert, in this case, stands for ‘bright fame’ or ‘bright renown.’

157. Rolland

The last name Rolland has French, Scottish, Breton, and English origins and is a spelling variant of Roland. It means ‘fame of the land’ or ‘renowned land,’ and is also used as a masculine given name.

158. Standridge

Standridge has habitational origins as a place name in Lancashire. It is also a toponym, meaning ‘stone bridge,’ signifying anyone living close to such a structure.

159. Sylvester

Sylvester came to be known as a name through its namesake Popes and first came to be used in England by the clerics. As a surname, it has topographical origins meaning ‘dweller in the forest.’

160. Thompson

Thompson is a variant of Thomson and is a popular English patronym meaning ‘son of Thom’ or ‘son of Thomas.’ It also originates as a habitational name from the parish of Thompson in Norfolk.

161. Traynor

The surname Traynor has Irish and English origins as a descriptive and occupational last name, respectively. In English, it is a variant of Trainer, referring to a ‘tamer of wild animals,’ and in Irish, it comes from Trainor, meaning ‘strong man’ or ‘champion.’

162. Walters

Walters has English origins as a patronymic surname meaning ‘son of Walter.’ The given name Walter was introduced to England during the Norman Conquest, and it translates to ‘commander of the army.’

Victorian Gothic Last Names

Victorian Gothic refers to Gothic literature, featuring an air of mystery, horror, and haunting. This genre was made popular during the Victorian era through the works of English authors such as Charles Dickens, the Bronte sisters, Mary Shelley, and American writers, like Edgar Allan Poe. Thus, Victorian Gothic last names capture an aura of darkness and secrecy and may also refer to fictional characters made popular through Gothic fiction.

163. Ashdown

A classic English habitational surname with an aura of mystery, Ashdown refers to the Ashdown Forest in East Sussex. It has Old English roots and means ‘hill covered in ash trees.’

164. Balthazar

With Akkadian roots and a powerful sound, Balthazar embodies the essence of Victorian Gothic surnames. It means ‘Bel protect the King,’ where Bel means ‘Master’ or ‘Lord.’ Balthazar is also a significant Biblical surname as it is the name of one of the Three Wise Men.

165. Blackwell

A unique habitational surname, Blackwell originates from various places named Blackwell in England. It may also be a topographical name suggesting ‘one who lives by a black well or dark stream,’ which adds to its Gothic vibe.

166. Burton

Burton is an English surname and given name meaning ‘fortified settlement.’ It can be considered a Gothic surname because most Victorian Gothic fiction is set in fortified structures, like castles, dungeons, or churches.

167. Caradoc

Caradoc refers to the semi-legendary ancestor of the rulers of Gwent, Caradoc Strongarm, giving it all the historical significance needed to be a Victorian Gothic surname. It means ‘amiable’ and ‘beloved.’

168. Corbett

A classic Victorian English surname, Corbett originates from the Middle English, Anglo-Norman French, and Old French word corbet. It means ‘raven,’ and was likely used to refer to people with dark hair or dark complexion, like a raven.

169. Corvin

A variant of the French and English Corbin, Corvin means ‘little crow’ or ‘raven.’ It possibly evolved as a nickname for those with dark hair, but it also makes for an excellent Gothic surname due to its association with darkness and ravens.

170. Crawford

The classic surname is believed to have two different meanings. As a habitational surname, it derives from places named Crawford in Scotland, and means ‘crow ford.’ In another interpretation, it comes from the Gaelic cru, meaning ‘bloody,’ and ford, meaning ‘crossing,’ meaning ‘a crossing of blood.’

171. Crowe

Derived from the Middle English crou, Crowe is yet another English surname that denotes ‘crow.’ This last name too is thought to have emerged as a nickname for those with darker hair or complexion. Because of its association with crows and darkness, Crowe is a classic Victorian Gothic surname.

172. Ebenezer

Ebenezer has a Biblical root, emerging as the name of a place meaning ‘stone of help,’ in Hebrew. However, as a Gothic surname, it connects to Ebenezer Scrooge, a fictional character known for his cold-hearted, miserly, and misanthropic ways. He was the protagonist of Charles Dickens’ 1843 short story, A Christmas Carol.

173. Faust

With Latin roots, the surname Faust means ‘fortunate’ or ‘lucky.’ Although it may not seem to be connected to the aura of Gothic literature, Faust has endured as the face of a famous Western legend. The name refers to a German necromancer who sold his soul to the devil in exchange for knowledge and power.

174. Griffiths

Griffiths has Welsh origins and is a patronymic surname meaning ‘son of Gruffudd.’ It likely means ‘chief with a strong grip.’ In the context of Victorian literature, Griffiths refers to Griffith Gaunt, the resentful and insecure protagonist of the 1866 novel Griffith Gaunt, or Jealousy, by Charles Reade.

175. Grimm

An English surname, Grimm has German roots and means ‘stern,’ ‘severe,’ or ‘fierce.’ This last name likely became famous during the early Victorian period because of the Grimm brothers, who collected and published folklore, which has given rise to most modern fairy tales.

176. Griswold

With Old English origins, Griswold combines the terms greosn, meaning ‘gravel,’ with weald, meaning ‘woodland,’ to denote ‘gravel woodland.’ Some interpretations also align it with ‘gray forest,’ with gris, meaning ‘gray’ in French. Its association with dullness and shade makes it a good choice for a Victorian Gothic surname.

177. Hawke

A variant of Hawk, Hawke is an English surname and given name that refers to the bird ‘hawk.’ It is also associated with fierceness, wildness, and cruelty, aligning it perfectly with the Gothic aesthetic.

178. Morgan

Morgan is a patronymic surname meaning ‘descendant of Morcant.’ It has Welsh and Celtic origins and also means ‘by the sea,’ denoting those born or living by the sea. Morgan lines up with the Gothic aura due to its connection with Morgan le Fay, a powerful and vindictive enchantress from medieval Arthurian legends.

179. Peregrine

With roots in the French pelegrin, meaning ‘pilgrim,’ Peregrine is a unique surname. It also denotes ‘stranger’ or ‘foreigner’ and refers to the peregrine falcon, a bird of prey, which gives it an aura of mystery and decay.

180. Severin

The surname Severin has English usage but originates from Latin. It means ‘stern,’ ‘severe,’ or ‘austere,’ associating it with the atmosphere of gloom that surrounds most Victorian Gothic fiction.

181. Thorne

Invoking the imagery of rose bushes with harsh and sharp thorns, Thorne is a classic Gothic surname. As for its origin, it is a topographic surname for those who live near a thorn bush or hedge.

182. Ulysses

The Latinized version of the Greek name Odysseus, Ulysses means ‘to hate,’ ‘full of anger,’ and ‘wrathful.’ Although it is not directly connected to Victorian Gothic fiction, its meanings align it suitably with Gothic themes and atmosphere.

183. Usher

Usher means doorkeeper

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Usher is a Middle English-origin occupational surname referring to an ‘usher’ or ‘doorkeeper.’ It became famous as a Victorian Gothic surname because of Edgar Allan Poe’s famous 1840 short story, The Fall of the House of Usher, revolving around themes of madness, isolation, and death.

Royal Victorian Last Names

Royal Victorian last names are those related to the British Royal families, either by familial connections or association. This list covers some of the most commonly known royal surnames.

184. Albert

Albert is an English given name and surname derived from the Germanic Adalbert, meaning ‘bright nobility.’ It was an influential name and surname during the Victorian period due to its association with Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the husband of Queen Victoria.

185. Cecil

Cecil is a given name and surname with Welsh and Latin roots and means ‘sixth’ or ‘blind.’ It is connected to the aristocratic Cecil family, including illustrious members such as Lord William Cecil, Queen Elizabeth Tudor’s prime minister.

186. Cromwell

Cromwell is a habitational surname from Nottinghamshire and means ‘crooked stream.’ It had much significance in English society, Victorian or otherwise, as it was associated with Lord Oliver Cromwell, the first Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland.

187. Ferdinand

Ferdinand is a name and surname of Germanic origin meaning ‘to travel with courage.’ Although not a part of the British monarchy, it has a significant hold in aristocratic circles because it was used as a name by numerous Spanish, Portuguese, German, Austrian, and Italian kings, among others.

188. Fitzwilliam

A distinctive patronymic surname derived from William, Fitzwilliam means ‘son of William.’ It was used as a last name in noble circles, particularly Thomas FitzWilliam, the first Viscount FitzWilliam, and William Fitzwilliam, the fourth Earl Fitzwilliam.

189. Howard

The masculine given name and surname Howard has Old French and Germanic roots, meaning ‘heart-brave’ or ‘chief protector.’ It is associated with the aristocratic Howard family created by John Howard, who was named the Duke of Norfolk in the 15th century.

190. Montagu

Montagu is a masculine given name and the English equivalent of the French surname Montague, meaning ‘pointed hill.’ It is associated with the House of Montagu, an English aristocratic family that rose to prominence in the 14th and 15th centuries as the Earls of Salisbury.

191. Montgomery

Montgomery is a habitational surname of Norman origin derived from Sainte-Foy-de-Montgommery and Saint-Germain-de-Montgommery in Normandy. It is also associated with the Montogomery family, influential in French and British nobility.

192. Mountbatten

Mountbatten is the English translation of the German surname Battenberg, a habitational surname from Hesse, in Germany. It is the surname used by the descendants of the Mountbatten family, including the Marquesses of Milford Haven and the Earls Mountbatten of Burma.

193. Osborne

Osborne has Norse origins as a surname and masculine given name and means ‘divine bear.’ Although it may not have direct connections to British royalty, the Osborne House, located on the Isle of Wight, served as the residence of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

194. Plantagenet

The surname Plantagenet was adapted by Richard, the third Duke of York, as his family name. It was based on a nickname that translated to ‘the common broom,’ a bright yellow flowering plant. The Plantagenet family became the English royal family from 1154 to 1485, producing 14 kings.

195. Russell

With Irish, Scottish, and English origins, the surname and masculine given name Russell signifies ‘red’ or ‘reddish.’ It emerged as a nickname for someone with red hair or a ruddy complexion. In England, the Russell family is an aristocratic clan that has held the title of Duke of Bedford since the 17th century.

196. Somerset

Somerset originates from the Old English Sumorsǣte, translating to ‘the people living at or dependent on Somerton.’ Somerset is also a habitational surname based in Somerset County in England. It is part of the title for Duke of Somerset and was used as a surname by Charles Somerset, the first Earl of Worcester.

197. John

St. John is a family name that came into England with the Norman Conquest. It is derived from Saint John the Baptist and a habitational surname from Saint Jean le Thomas in France. As an aristocratic name, Baron St John of Bletso is a title associated with the Peerage of England, and Sir John St John was made a Baron in 1611.

198. Stanley

Stanley is a toponymic surname meaning ‘stone meadow’ or ‘a stone-filled meadow.’ As a surname related to aristocracy, the Stanley family included the Earls of Derby and the Barons of Audley. Interestingly, the use of Stanley as a personal name bagn with the political followers of the Stanley family.

199. Tudor

Tudor has Welsh and English origins and translates to ‘people king’ or ‘king of the people.’ The House of Tudor was a Welsh and English royal family that held the Throne of England for over a hundred years, from 1485 to 1603, with five rulers,  Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I.

200. Windsor

A habitational name, Windsor is related to several places named Windsor in England, and translates roughly to ‘windy hill’ or ‘windy riverbank.’ It is the last name used by the House of Windsor, which has held the throne of the UK since 1917.

201. York

York has British origins and it is a toponymic surname meaning ‘boar settlement’ or ‘yew settlement.’ The House of York was a branch of the House of Plantagenet, and it gave England three kings in the 15th century.

Discover More Names

When you have to choose a name for your baby, a few hundreds of names may not be just enough. Keep digging our mine of baby names until you find that one precious gem.

Victorian surnames or last names cover a wide range of themes, representing the different strata of society at the time. They offer a glimpse into the past, the social and economic conditions of the time, the type of places people lived in, and the kinds of jobs they did. While some of these last names have been lost to time or have diminished in use, a vast majority thrive to this day. From Adams to York, Victorian last names take us on a fascinating journey through history and remind us that although centuries have passed since then, the culture and values have remained the same.

Reference

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  1. Victorian England.
    https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/learn/story-of-england/victorian/#:~:text=The%20Victorian%20era%20spans%20the
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Ratika holds a master's degree in commerce and a post-graduate diploma in communication and journalism from Mumbai University. She has 6 years of experience writing in various fields, such as finance, education, and lifestyle. As a content writer at MomJunction, Ratika writes insightful and informative articles on marriage, relationships, and baby names. She keenly observes human relationships and enjoys studying...read full bio